Owner and Store
Store owner Ed Sommers and
manager John Speckine want you to know right up front that you should
expect to be treated like an old hunting or fishing buddy when you walk
into BJ's. We'll poke fun, tell bad jokes, and expect you to poke
fun and tell bad jokes right back at us. It's all in good fun.
Ed and John have known each
other since the summer 2000 when they both joined that incarnation of the
locally-known bar-band 'Border Line'. They spent the next four years
rehearsing nearly every week and playing almost every Friday and Saturday
night. They were the 'comedy relief' of the group and were guilty of
many a practical joke on a fellow band member or a snappy retort to one
another during a show.
That's Ed in
the middle and John at back-left.
While they enjoyed sharing the
stage several times a year with the 1960s group 'The Rivieras' (California
Sun), they both experienced the highlight of their musical careers in September
2002 when the band was invited to open for country heavy-weights Keith Urban and Montgomery Gentry.
for Keith Urban & Montgomery Gentry: John is the
closest guitar player and Ed is in the back on drums.
won't go into detail here about the long, blonde wig John sported in
front of 20,000 people, but feel free to bring it up. However, we will
spout freely about the finest single item either one of us has ever had to
autograph (wonderful, unforgettable, amazing), the memory of which elicits
sighs of longing. (You'll have to ask.)
||Nowadays, Ed is a
Medical Laboratory professional at a large Health System out in
Arizona. While not an avid
hunter or fisherman himself, he's learning on the fly during his
trips to the store. It is the full intent of John and some
of the local charter captains to get Ed and his family out on the Lake
for a day of fishing and maybe even some 'chumming' (as we like
to call the activity generally engaged by those suffering from
seasickness - including yours truly).
in his band promo shot. He's much more, um, 'seasoned'
an avid hunter and fisherman and handles day-to-day
operations of the
store and its Outfitter functions. He got the
'outfitting' bug from his paternal grandparents who owned
a fishing lodge in Ontario, above Lake Superior, in the
1960s and 70s. He's been guiding hunters and
fishermen, in one form or another, for over 20
years. He is a proud
disabled vet, former Cincinnati Reds minor league free agent signee
(never played - ask if you want to know why) and Atlanta Braves scout (which has nothing to do with BJ's - he
just likes to brag about it). He has also worked as a stand-up comedian with VERY limited success, so be ready to listen to the occasionally
embroidered, but still 100% true, hunting or fishing story. Honest. Click
here to read some of John's lies (which are really true - seriously).
unusual fishing accident caused a small coho to be embedded
in John's right ear (see picture), which required surgery
for extraction. Were all surgical tools
removed? We're not sure, but it WOULD explain a few
Our store credo is
simple: "Fishermen caught telling the truth will be
soundly flogged." (The credo also applies to hunters,
but there wasn't enough room on the T-shirts.) With this in mind,
John is currently planning a
series of free seminars for area young hunters and fishermen entitled:
"Fishing Lies and You: A Beginner's Guide to
In these free seminars, he will
teach skills of exaggeration passed down to him from his
Texas-born father and arts of embellishment taught by his maternal grandfather (100% Irishman that he was).
His Native American maternal grandmother also taught his some 'tricks' to
ensure a good day's hunting or fishing which John will be happy to pass
along to his charges.
He is certain these seminars
will receive high praise and support from both parenting and religious groups,
as well as school
boards, throughout the region.
We'll see you in the store!!